Psychology of Consumer Behaviour |

Saturday, December 27, 2008

John Lennon Speaks -One Laptop

Even from the grave Lennon and a little controversy for a good cause

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Merry: Playing for change!

Connecting the world through music is the mission of The Playing for Change Foundation. They provide facilities, supplies and educational programs to musicians and communities around the world.

Here is one of the videos from their upcoming documentary.

Read more, hear some great music and support the movement at
Thanks to my friend Shirley who sent me this link.

Merry Music

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fisher-Price Toys- They're hot!

From San Jose Mercury News:
"Some customers calling the consumer-relations hot line on a Fisher-Price DVD are getting an invitation for relations of a different sort.

Mattel's Fisher-Price unit apologized today for including an incorrect telephone number for customer service on the back of a DVD sleeve that is actually the number for an adults-only hot line."

No wonder Elmo is dancing

Daffy Duck wants more, more more

In keeping with the season a song from the honourable Daffy Duck

'nuff said
What say you Mr Scrooge?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

KickButt- Make one of my students have a happy new year!

Here is my plea.
I'm part of a group of GTA college and university people who have been working on an anti-smoking initiative with Toronto Health. We came up with the idea of a YouTube contest where GTA college and university students produce anti-smoking messages and submit them to the KICKBUTT contest. They could win a MacBook, an iPod Touch or a gift certificate.

Naturally, I want one of my students to win. After the final exam I talked one of my students into promising to create something- and he did. I think he did a great job. So please see the video and rate it, and make everyone you know see it and rate it, and make one of my students have a very merry new year!

Peace and Love

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Doghouse- Presents vs Presence

What happens when a man buys his wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas?

Oh there is so much one can say about this. What does it say about the advertisers who made it? What does it say about how men and women are portrayed? What does it say if we laugh at it? What does it say if we don't?

All I know is that a piece of jewellery from JC Penny is about the last thing on earth I would want. In reality a snazzy vacuum cleaner isn't half bad. But I do recall getting a dog hair clipper for my birthday once, and that kind a put a damper on things although the dog had a lovely hair cut. For me the guy in the dog house who had given his girlfriend extra ram with a note saying, "Thanks for the memories" was a doll. Less is more and sweet is sweet.

Maybe it is more simple than we all think; maybe what we all we need is fewer presents and more presence.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ode to Toronto Transportation-What's going on on the TTC

Today's post is mostly a musical interlude

First came the Shuffle Demons 22 years ago with their "Spadina Bus"

Now comes a rap ode shot by a Humber grad and starring a grad of Centennial. Love those college students!

But that's not all that goes on on the TTC. There has also been Random Acts of Violins!

and even a little Improv dance on the TTC subway


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby it's Cold Outside- When ad guys do good- TAXI !

I have a little exercise I use in one of my classes to try to get the class to put themselves in the place of early Canadian settlers who lived in remote places across Canada. For many of those settlers the most exciting event might have been receiving the Eaton’s catalogue.

The catalogue was about sell, sell, sell, but it connected people and told about life and most certainly had a life that lived longer than its yearly issue. I ask the students to get into groups and write down all the ways those settlers may have used those catalogues. They usually come up with things like learning the language, making paper dolls, wallpaper, outhouse necessity and some have even come with hockey shin pads.

The idea of using the pages as insulation is usually one of the first ideas they think of. Am I alone in ripping down a wall and finding old girly magazines and newspapers? Probably not.

Understanding that newsprint is one of the best insulators is one of those things we take for granted. But last year some ad people at Canadian agency Taxi decided to think about newspaper as insulation and have done something that will more than warm the heart of a few homeless people.

Last year was Taxi’s 15th anniversary; they wanted to give back to the community with a big idea. What they came up with is the 15 Below Jacket- a jacket with multiple pockets that can be stuffed with crumpled newspapers to withstand temperatures to 15 below.

Waterproof and windproof, it can be worn as a raincoat when the stuffing is removed. And yes, the jackets were tested at 15 below in meat lockers for eight hours to ensure their durability.

See the testing

3000 of the 15 below jackets have been distributed to the homeless in big cities across Canada. This past November, Taxi auctioned fifteen of the 15 below Jackets on eBay for The Salvation Army. The jackets were signed by celebrities like Kim Cattrall, Nelly Furtado, Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" cast, Robert Plant, Kid Rock, and R.E.M. and Sir Elton John.

Taxi is looking for corporate sponsors to keep the project up and running. See the website 15 Below Project

It is estimated that 300,000 people in Canada and 744,313 in the U.S. live on the streets.
We can rant against the ad people but there are some who do make a difference. It's a low cost-high concept solution. It's kind of heart warming!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I've got me some "Truman Syndrome"

If you blinked last week, you might have missed a small news story talking about something that is being called “Truman Syndrome.”

A little history knowledge and the temper of the times might make you wonder if it refers to Harry S. Truman who famously said, “It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose your own.”

But alas the reference here is a tad more current. It refers to a syndrome named for the character portrayed by Jim Carrey in the 1998 film The Truman Show who discovers that his entire life is being staged and filmed for a 24-hour-a-day reality TV show.

Apparently psychiatrists are reporting a number of patients who suffer from this “Truman Syndrome,” a delusion that they are secretly part of a reality TV show. One patient believed his every move was being filmed for a reality contest; another went to a federal building and demanded he be released from a reality show being made about his life. Others believe that the doctors who treat them are merely actors in their reality show.

Truman Syndrome has divided experts with some critics pointing out that delusional patients believing that friends or relatives have been replaced by impostors is nothing new. However, Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist affiliated with New York's Bellevue Hospital, believes the “Truman” delusions are more pervasive involving, not just a few associates as impostors but society at large. His brother, Ian Gold, a professor at McGill University in Montreal suggests that reality TV and the Web's ability to make strangers into intimates may be compounding the psychological pressure on people with underlying problems dealing with others. Reports suggest the disorder underscores the influence pop culture can have on mental conditions.

According to a 1997 Learning and Skills Council study, one in seven UK teenagers hopes to gain fame by appearing on reality television. So called reality shows have become a kind of lottery ticket, a quick way to fame even if it is only Andy’s famous 15 minutes. Television is full of this manufactured reality. Many assume that it is a recent phenomenon, when in fact it has a long history. We have always been a little nutty.

Debuting in 1948, Allen Funt's Candid Camera was based on his previous 1947 radio show, Candid Microphone, and showed unsuspecting ordinary people reacting to candid camera pranks. One of my favorite clips features comedian Fanny Flagg as the first female airline pilot.

As horrible and shocking as many of today’s reality TV shows are, is there any that could be as bad as Queen for a Day which ran between 1956-1962 on NBC. The game show featured contestants, poor bedraggled women telling their tales of woe. The applause-o-meter signaled the winner - the most pathetic- who was trotted up to a throne, wrapped in a queenly robe and crowned Queen for a Day. The advertiser's prizes were introduced one by one usually ending with the cherished refrigerator, what every woman who had lost everything wanted.

Queen For a Day - And the winner is..

Some claim that reality television’s success is due to its ability to provide schadenfreude, the “largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another.” In these financially difficult times will this kind of programming continue to thrill?

There is hope on the horizon. New York-based ad company Horizon Media analyzed Nielsen Media Research data for broadcast series during the first two months of the TV season, compared with the same period last year and found that established reality-competition shows and game shows are suffering a slump. Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times suggests, “hard times may not have any direct effect on what people choose to watch. But there's little doubt that during times of upheaval, viewers' tastes can shift. As the Dow continues to spiral down and jobs dry up, viewers may have decided that their everyday lives already contain more reality than they can bear.” But as I read this report, I also read that plans are afoot to supersize the Donald’s Celebrity Apprentice to two hours.

In the movie The Truman Show, we cheer our hero Truman as he escapes the island and the illusions that the media have created.

Can we do the same?